Day Six in Cuba is Friday, February 22nd. The day began with a buffet breakfast I shared with my travel companion Dolores as we got to know each other and our histories a little better. Because our departure time was still a few minutes off, I decided to do a walkabout down the shoreline.
At the end of the road was a little park. Being an American, I just waltzed right in. As I walked about, a park attendant approached and between his very nice broken English and my weak Spanish, explained their was an admission fee. Guess what? I had no money having left it all at the hotel. The attendant allowed me to walk about and thus improved international relations.
As I was walking in this neighborhood I passed a house where an elderly woman was sitting on the porch enjoying the morning sun. She had seen me taking photographs and she indicated that she wanted me to take her photo. So I did.
We ended our brief affair with a "Gracias" from me and a "De Nada" from her. What a delightful moment.
What is it with me and cats? This morning I discovered that the Jagua Hotel has more than one so I chased them around the patio for awhile but never got close enough to improve international feline relations.
Our first order of business today once we are on the bus was to drive into town and purchase our tickets for tonight's entertainment (more about that below) at the Teatro Tomas Terry.
While we were in the ticket office, I could not resist purchasing this:
I passed on purchasing this:
Outside the theater, we are reminded again that the relationship between our two countries is constantly on every one's mind in this country. In case you have forgotten, these are the same men who were talked about in the display in the Havana' restaurant during day four (see Dia Cuatro).
Today we are driving from Cienfuegos to Trinidad city which is further east along the southern coast of the island. That means it is time for day six's version of Fuzzy Out the Window Shots:
This is a shrimp farm which is cool. Even cooler is the huge concrete shrimp that sits at the entrance to the farm which unfortunately I could not get a picture of. Trust me, it was cool.
Trinidad was founded by the Spanish in 1514 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town was a very wealthy center for trade including sugar and slaves. The city has retained its significance by basically being isolated from the rest of the island until the 1950s when the first public road reach its perimeter. Public planning has left the streets as they were and thus you get a real sense of history walking around this city. Today about 30,000 people live in the city.
Sorry to report that at this point things are a little fuzzy. My notes are not clear and I did not take too many photographs to help me out. I am pretty sure we did visit the Musco de Arquitectura Colonial in the former Casa de los Sanchez Iznaga, which houses the history of the city's architectural development in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Trinidad is such a relaxing city to walk around. The cliche "time has stood still" could have been invented here.
Here are two shots of the Inglesia y Convento de San Francisco.
We had a chance to visit a museum (whose name I did not record) that covers the revolutionary battles and the Bay of Pigs conflict.
Regarding the issue of the five, I thought this poster in the gift shop of the museum was the most clever.
Here is the gang catching its own five while on the walking tour.
The next stop was rather unique: a Santeria temple where we had a chance to hear about the religious practices and view the icons.
Lunch in Trinidad was at El Jigue restaurant.
I visited a little street fair that was going on and purchased a round table cloth for Denice made by this woman:
The Santanders are a Trinidad family of pottery makers. Their pottery was wonderful.
In the back of the shop, for whatever reason, was this cool old car.
While I was horsing around taking pictures of it, I was approached by this pottery worker who had his friend take our picture. He then slipped a little piece of pottery in my pocket and I slipped a little CUC in his. Ah, international relations at its best--and that guy wins the game of shirts and skins.
Back on the bus, we are off to visit the mirador (lookout) over the Sugar Mill Valley, designated by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1988. It overlooks a triangular plain covering some 250 square kilometers and includes the San Luis, Agabama-Meyer and Santa Rosa valleys, besides the coastal plain of the south delta of the Manati River.
Back on the bus, we make our return journey to Cienfuegos.
When we got back to the Hotel Jagua, in Cienfuegos, I made a decision. I had been walking past this piece of art in the hotel lobby for two days and it was time to fish or cut bait. I asked first at the check in desk about the piece but no one spoke English. They did send me down to the hotel gift shop where the worker there did not speak English. That kind lady fetched the gift shop manager, who did speak English, and we were off. The piece is called Root That Cannot Give Flowers and it is a print by Marcel Molina. Molina is a 28-year-old artist who teaches in the city. He has won awards for his art in Cuba and I was very pleased to take this work home with me for $150 American.
After a buffet dinner at the Hotel we hopped into some cabs ordered by the hotel staff and headed downtown to the Teatro Tomas Terry for the show Amigas: el Musical (Girl Friends: the musical). This show is a production of the Cuban ballet company Lizt Alfonso.
While the entire show was in Spanish, it seemed fairly easy to follow. The musical tells the story of three women whose youthful friendship and musical talent becomes threaten by their complicated love life and the revolution in Cuba. The three woman who performed in the show were magnificent. Every aspect of this production was wonderful from the supporting cast, the dance numbers, the musical score and the revolving sets. Another plus was sitting in this magnificent European style teatro.
After the show we were a little perplexed as to how non-Spanish speaking folks were supposed to get a cab back to our hotel. Other guests were jumping into cabs and pealing away but some of us were polite enough to go last and thus--did not have a cab. We stood around for awhile before we decided to ask a gentleman if he knew where we could get a cab. He was standing next to a vehicle--which turned out to be his cab. Off we went on a safe journey home.
For a complete set of all the photos from this trip, please visit me at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gniebuhr/sets/72157633250056880.